In this month of November when we remember those who have died, we also meditate on why we pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Purgatory is the place where every spiritual defect is corrected. It is also where we pay for all the bad actions confessed, but not made up for while living here in this world.
In Rome there is a room that is filled with scientific evidence of Purgatory. Go see for yourself and believe. It can be found (a long (but possible) walk from St. Peter’s Basilica) just east of the Palazzo di Guiustizia (Palace of Justice. The church is along the Tiber River and is called “Chiesa del Sacro Cuore del Suffragio” or in English, the “Church of the Sacred Heart of Suffrage”. The church is one of the very few neo-Gothic churches in Rome and was finished in 1917. It’s official name is “Sacro Cuore de Gesu in Prati”.
On this site was originally a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary. On September 15, 1897, a fire destroyed this chapel. On one of the charred walls was a definite and clear image of a suffering face of a soul in Purgatory. The priest there, Fr. Victor Jouet was so impressed with the image that he believed it to be a miracle. So with the support of Pope Pius X, he traveled through out Italy, Germany, Belgium and France to find relics that prove the existence of Purgatory.
Fr Jouet put these items in a room adjacent to the Church and is called the Piccolo Museo del Purgatorio. If you wish to see it, you have to go when the church is open. It is open Monday through Friday 7:30 to 11 and 4 to 7. As far as I know it is closed for lunch from 11 to 4:00.
There daily Masses are 7:30, 10 am and 7 pm. Sunday’s masses are 8, 10:30, 12, and 7pm. Usually the museum is open when the church is open for Masses.
For 11 nights, Joseph Leleux, in Belgium, had been awakened by frightening noises. On the 12th night, June 21, 1789, his mother Mrs. Leleux appeared to him and burned her hand mark on his night shirt. She also reproached him for his way of life and implored him to practice his Catholic faith. He was converted and started a pious congregation for the laity. You can see this bed shirt in the museum.
Another thing contained is the prayer book of George Schitz which bears the fingerprints of his deceased brother Joseph. This happened on December 31, 1838 in Lorraine, France. He asked for prayers because he was making expiation in Purgatory for his lack of holiness before he died.
The mother in law of Margherite Demmerie of the Diocese of Menz, France, appeared to her 30 years after her death. She said “I am your mother in law who died in childbirth 30 years ago. Go on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariental and have two Masses said for me there”. When Margherite asked for a sign, she put her hand on the book, “Imitation of Christ” that she was reading and there were left the burned handprint.
After completing the pilgrimage and having the Masses said, the mother-in-law appeared again to tell her that she was released from purgatory. This was all documented by her parish priest.